Goals for Studying Abroad in East Asia

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As I tidy up the loose ends of my fourth semester to begin my fifth semester abroad, my personal goals for going abroad occupy my mind more than my upcoming goals for reading period (oops)

Despite seriously considering various other countries as my destination, I ended up petitioning and applying to Taiwan. Now that I'm in the program and completing forms and visa applications, I can begin asking myself what my expectations are for going abroad. These questions are especially pertinent in my case as I will be "returning" to a country that is supposedly home. Almost all of my family members live there, but I have very little communication with them and have not visited them in many years. As a result, there are some questions that I hope I will be able to answer by the end of my semester in Taiwan:

1. How are Asian-Americans perceived in Taiwan? 

2. Really just how bad is my Chinese? 

3. What are some stereotypes that Taiwanese folk hold toward other groups of people? 

4. Was I treated any differently than non-Taiwanese-American students or Taiwanese students? 

5. How rigorous/intense is the academic culture? 

6. How is the culture different from that in the U.S.? 

7. Was my body image significantly changed because of different beauty standards and ways of living? 

8. When I'm told that I'm "too tan" or "too squishy", is it appropriate for me to impose my American values onto others? 

9. Is going abroad worth it? 

10. Could I have learned the lessons I learned anywhere else? 

11. Was I treated differently as a woman? 

12. What is the history of the island and how is it present nowadays? 

13. What are their education and healthcare policies like? 

14. How did study abroad change you, if at all? 

15. If you ended up doing an "Intensive Research Project", what topic did you choose? 

16. I bet you overpacked. What would you have brought and dropped? 

17. What was your favorite studying spot and why? 

18. What is something that you still don't get about Taiwan? 

19. Why is Taiwan an unpopular destination for studying abroad? 

20. What is something that the U.S. could learn from the Taiwanese folk? 

I'm sure I could think of more questions before I leave for the fall, but for now, that's all I've got. Now that it's public, I can hold myself more accountable to getting to all of these questions. I look forward to getting through finals and just counting down the days until the wheels of the aircraft hit the ground. Thanks for reading through this! Good luck with everything! 

P.S. If you're studying abroad next fall, I would love to share experiences and be Snap buddies at the very least, so please message me! :) 

About The Author

Bonnie is a sophomore at Amherst College. Even though she studies statistics, she is interested in technology, pediatric medicine, dentistry, education, and public health.  She spends most of her day trying out new things, like eating an ice cream cone while biking or looking for ways to climb onto campus building roofs. "All over the place" would be the best way to describe her. 

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